Since the Grenfell Tower fire claimed 72 lives in 2017, Australia has identified flammable cladding on more than 3,400 buildings. Despite apartment owners' fears and rising costs, few have been fixed.
A building designed to be easily taken apart so the components can be reused is a model for much less wasteful construction. It reduces resource use and environmental impacts, and can be cheaper too.
Plastics are strong, durable, waterproof, lightweight, easy to mould, and recyclable – all key properties for construction materials.
Bricks turn out to be useful for storing electricity thanks to their porousness and red pigment.
Researchers are turning microbes into microscopic construction crews by altering their DNA to make them produce building materials. The work could lead to more sustainable buildings.
The cement needed to make concrete – the most widely used man-made material – is a major source of global emissions. Researchers are working on a green replacement that could transform the sector.